As Peter Drucker once wrote, leadership is ‘the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard’. For business owners who want to foster a high-performance culture, this ability to raise performance, individual by individual and team by team, is absolutely critical.
What does this mean in practice for busy owner-managers? It means committing to the following key steps:
Attract, identify and select the right kinds of people
Any business owner wants to attract people who have the right skills, experience and desirable attributes to help their business succeed. But you also need people who fit culturally – people who understand what the business is trying to do and will help you achieve it.
Link individual and team performance to the wider business context
It’s certainly easier for people to perform well when they understand what they need to do (and how and why they should do it), and how their performance influences the company’s overall performance. Clearly, good communication is important here, but the message also needs to be reinforced through business policies. Which brings me to…
Ensure policies and procedures support what you’re trying to do
An important building block of any high-performance culture is having the right HR procedures and policies in place that support what the business is trying to achieve. This includes rewards, recognition and remuneration.
Create the right development paths
Performance needs to improve over time for a business to succeed, and it makes sense that expectations for roles and performance will change over time. Your people need to be aware of changing expectations and equipped with the skills and knowledge to grow. Keep in mind that it’s not just individuals who go on a development journey – the team does, too.
Measure and reward performance
You must have systems in place to be able to monitor and measure performance, and those measurements should be appropriate to your business’s goals. Go beyond obvious things like revenue and drill down to more specific measurements that really work for your business. Consider the precise activities and smaller steps that each individual and team will undertake to help the business get where you want it to be, and put systems in place to measure and reward them.
Clear the way for self-improving teams
I believe most of a company’s improvements should come from the individuals themselves, rather than the leadership. It’s the leader’s role to create the right structure and environment for people to perform well, and this means giving them the scope to make improvements themselves. They can do this if they understand the context of high performance, the business’s objectives and have appropriate remuneration and rewards in place. Remember that rewards doesn’t necessarily mean money. Personal development, professional advancement and a stimulating, enjoyable work environment are equally important.
Henchards can help with any aspect of creating, managing and delivering a high-performance culture – whether that means raising your own leadership performance, or working with your management team to raise performance across the business. Tell us what you’re trying to achieve and we’ll help you get there.